Mayor, Council Pay Raises Go To Voters: Serious Public Evaluations Needed Before Approval

cover17By: Darwin Campbell, African-American News&Issues

DALLAS-Giving voters and opportunity to decide on raises for city council is perhaps the best decision the Dallas City Council has ever made.

After not being able to pass it, the city council agreed to ask voters in November for a 60-percent pay raise.

At stake is under the proposal are raises for council members’ salaries that would increase pay from $60,000 to $80,000 and mayor salary would increase to $80,000 up $20,000 over his current pay.

For once, city council realizes who really signs the paychecks at city hall and who is the real BOSS.  IT’S THE VOTERS

In every situation, there is a measuring stick and those standards are examined and weighed carefully before granting raises on any job and the same standards should apply here. Council should not get a pass on this. Evaluation sheets, score cards and grade cards are in order to determine whether the city council and Mayor Mike Rawlings has earned the proposed increases.

Voters can start an evaluation process of their city council with these three words:

Performance: The execution or accomplishment of work, acts.

Service: The supplying or supplier of utilities or commodities, as water, electricity, or gas, required or demanded by the public. An act of helpful activity; help.

Action: something done or performed; act; deed.

While politicians put spin on the issue to justify why voters should reach into their pockets and give them raises, like the following:

“There is a large class of individuals who would be excellent City Council members who simply will not consider running because of the compensation issue,” Councilman Philip Kingston said. “This has nothing to do with this council wanting more money.”

“It’s about attracting as many good, smart, caring individuals that care for the common good of the people,” said Council member Jerry Allen. “These people that do this should not have to sacrifice their families.”

“It’s because it’s the right thing to do and because we work hard as council members,” according to Councilwoman Carolyn Davis.

However,  it all boils down to performance, service and action.

PERFORMANCE

Citizens have to look at each and every decision that the council makes and how that decision has affected the everyday life of each citizen living in neighborhoods and communities.

Has there been improvements in drainage, housing, street repairs and development. Citizens must also look at how well individual representatives and the council in general has responded to the needs and call of the Black community who comes to speak each week about concerns, problems and issues.

Have you been limited in appeaaring and speakingat council meetings? How many times can you step up to you elected officials and share your thoughts and opinions in a Democratic environment? How much has that council member responded to your phone calls to his or her office with a personal return contact or phone call that did not involve just a staff member taking your concern down on a notepad?

How accessible is your representative? Has he/she made contact with you at town hall meetings in the community and in neighborhoods to exchange ideas about projects, votes and upcoming decisions?

Does that vote by your representatives and your council represent you the citizens from South Dallas and all other areas in between?

SERVICE

By definition, How do the services provided by the city in your community and neighborhood measure up to services provided to other areas.

For example, compare crime in North Dallas to South Dallas or other areas and see who is getting the best police protection. Note the presence and response times of officers and how that relates to lowering or holding the line on crime in Black neighborhoods.

As a citizen, am I experiencing a balanced approach to services that allow my side of the track to enjoy the same quality of electrical, drainage and street maintenance and repairs services as North Dallas.

Where are the most funds being spent on improvements and economic development to bring jobs and reduce blight in my neighborhood?

 ACTION

As always, action speaks louder than words. Citizens must measure how much time and attention the Dallas City Council has paid to getting it done in my area, my community and my neighborhood in South Dallas and surrounding areas.

As I look back at 5 years, 10 years, 20 years and 50 years and I compare my neighborhood and community, has much really changed where I live or is it the same.

If my neighborhood looks like it did back then and if it appears that my community is a “DOME” and lost in a time warp, ask has the city council overlooked us and not considered my community important?

Do they deserve my consideration for raises when they don’t know a thing about me or my neighborhood?

In the Black community, what is city council doing to halt racism, stop police brutality and protect citizens.

Probe, quiz and ask how many times has the council been to my hood and what do they know about the issues, services needed and problems we face each and everyday.

Examine your current council leaders and see if they are even in the loop and have the ear and the back of the people he or she serves – or is it all about his/her own political goals and aspirations.

When it comes to action, its is about VOICE. Do you have a VOICE on the Dallas City Council that simply listens, speaks and takes action on behalf of the people and the Black community?

Elected officials are here to serve you the public and citizen, not serve themselves and dine lavishly at taxpayer expense at the tables of luxury and excess that is city government.

It’s about evaluation. It is time for voters to evaluate the performance, service and action of the people sitting around the horseshoe in downtown Dallas.

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